Author: Dr. Vikram Chauhan

An Ayurvedic approach for constipation relief

Constipation: Ayurvedic perspective

In Ayurveda, Constipation is known as ‘Vibandh.’ It is a common condition which affects a person’s normal bowel movements. In this condition, the affected person experiences difficulty in passing stools and emptying the bowel. In severe cases, the person may be unable to pass stools altogether for some time.

Ayurvedic Treatment of Constipation

According to Ayurveda

  • According to Ayurveda, the occurrence of constipation is linked to poor eating and lifestyle habits. This discomforting condition develops due to a gradual build-up of undigested food in the stomach and occult stool in the large intestines. As a result, the body’s Vata dosha is impaired, leading to an obstruction in the digestive tract. When the digestive tract is obstructed, the body is unable to support a proper bowel movement. This leads to the problem of constipation.
  • Hence, as per Ayurveda, the reason behind constipation is the improper functioning of the colon because of the cold and dry qualities of Vata energy. The excess of Vata in the body causes disruption to apana vayu, the downward energy which supports elimination and stability. Due to Vata imbalance, apana vayu flows in an upward direction rather than its usual downward flow.

Symptoms of Constipation

  • Some of the symptoms of constipation are indigestion (dyspepsia), acid eructation (belching), nausea, flatulence, stomach ache, scanty faeces, pain at the anus during defecation, feeling of heaviness of the body, lower back pain, and lack of appetite.
  • Ayurvedic approach to constipation relief involves the use of time-tested home remedies, use of herbs/herbal formulations, as well as dietary and lifestyle changes, in order to increase the regularity of bowel movements.

constipation-symptoms

Constipation relief: Ayurvedic approach

  • Ayurvedic remedies for relieving constipation are chiefly aimed at countering the effects of excess Vata in the patients, and restoring normal bowel movements. For this, Ayurveda recommends the addition of oil, warmth and hydration to the body’s excretory system.

Some useful Ayurvedic remedies which can be beneficial in managing constipation are:

Eat Vata-pacifying foods

  • To address the root cause — that is, Vata imbalance — of constipation, it is important for patients to modify their diet pattern and include foods that pacify the Vata. Towards that end, the diet of a patient suffering from constipation should comprise of properly cooked vegetables, warm foods, and warm drinks. It is also important to avoid cold foods and drinks, salads, dried fruits, and almost all types of beans.

Drink plenty of hot fluids

  • One of the best remedies that can normalize bowel movements for patients affected by constipation is to increase the daily intake of warm or hot fluids. Since warm water or herbal teas can effectively offset the cold quality of Vata, they should be taken frequently during the day. However, it must be noted that warm fluids should ideally be taken either 20 minutes before meals or one hour after meals.

Add organic oils to the diet

  • Some beneficial dietary changes, like increasing the use of organic oils, can provide relief in constipation. Oils provide lubrication to the tissues, so that the stool comprises an appropriate amount of grease or fat. Although nearly all oils can be used to treat constipation, the most supportive oils for managing Vata excess include ghee, olive oil, and sesame oil.

Increase the intake of fruits

  • The consumption of certain fruits is also useful in tackling the problem of constipation in a natural way. Fruits are fibrous and hydrating, and can pacify the Vata. The fruits that are believed to be especially beneficial in constipation include ripe bananas, papayas, peeled apples, soaked prunes, peaches, and soaked raisins.

Drink fruit juices

  • The juice of fruits like prunes and pineapple is recommended for relieving constipation. These juices have the ability to move excess Vata in the colon. The juices can be diluted with water if needed, or can also be warmed slightly.

Take hot milk with ghee

  • Hot milk, with ghee added to it, can be taken at bedtime to relieve constipation naturally. For this remedy, one or two teaspoons of ghee should be added to a cup of boiled milk. The combination of hot milk and ghee can treat the problem of constipation in patients who have a Vata or Pitta constitution.

Avoid foods that can cause constipation

  • Certain foods are known to cause or aggravate constipation, and should, therefore, be avoided by patients affected by the condition. The foods to be avoided in constipation are: refined foods such as white flour, white rice, bread, pizza, and pasta etc.
  • Moreover, ice creams and other colds foods, and high -protein food items like cheese, soybeans, and red meat should also be avoided. Furthermore, it is advised that the bran should not be removed from the flour because the bran is insoluble fiber. It has the ability to clear the obstructions in the intestines and alleviate constipation.

Other useful herbs for relieving constipation are

Use Triphala herb

  • The use of Triphala is one of the most powerful natural remedies for pacifying Vata and managing constipation. Triphala is a potent Ayurvedic formula prepared from a combination of three widely-known herbs — Amla (Emblica officinalis), Bibhitaki (Terminalia bellirica), and Haritaki (Terminalia chebula). Triphala can balance the body’s Vata, Pitta and Kapha doshas, and is especially beneficial for the colon. Triphala can support healthy elimination when taken in the form of powder or tablets at night, preferably 30 minutes before sleep.

Herbal Remedy for Constipation

Use Psyllium husk

  • Psyllium husk acts as a bulking agent in the colon and supports the elimination process. It can ensure the regularity of bowel movements because it is a natural source of soluble as well as insoluble fiber. For treating constipation, Psyllium husks should be soaked in warm milk or warm water. The intake of the husks should be followed by sufficient hydration.

Practice Yoga

  • Constipation can also be relieved with the help Yoga, particularly an inverted posture like viparita karani (the posture in which legs are placed up against the wall). This posture can put Vata back in the balance because of the reverse the flow of prana in the body. Hence, this posture awakens the lower part of the stomach and promotes a regular functioning of the ‘stuck’ organs in the pelvis.

Final Word:

  • The Ayurvedic approach for treating constipation involves the above-mentioned natural remedies which can rectify the Vata imbalance and normalize the stool movement. However, people suffering from chronic, recurring, or intense constipation should use  Ayurvedic remedies under the guidance of a renowned Ayurveda practitioner.

Ayurvedic Regimen for the Pregnant Woman(GARBHINI PARICHARYA)

Overview

Ayurveda considers pregnancy and child birth as a holistic condition in a woman’s life. During pregnancy mother needs extra care in terms of nourishment as there is another life depending on her. So, it is very important to take care of mother’s health before, during and after the pregnancy as the cases of growth retardation and congenital anomalies occur due to improper diet and malabsorption. In our ancient textbooks of Ayurveda, there is a proper description of garbhini paricharya which includes proper diet, nutrition, the conduct of behavior and medication under the heading of:

Ayurvedic Regimen for the Pregnant Woman

  1. Masanumasika Garbhini Paricharya ( Monthly Dietary Regimen )
  2. Garbhini swathya rakshanartha ( emphasing garbhin aahara, vihara, mansikasthithi, Aushadha and Suchitva)

According to this text described in our classics, Antenatal care should begin soon after the conception and continue throughout the pregnancy. A balanced and adequate diet is therefore of utmost importance during pregnancy and lactation.  Also to avoid the complications like the risk of miscarriage, toxemia , anemia , damage to fetus and others, there is a provision of Garbhini paricharya (Antenatal Care)  for the pregnant woman which is described as under :

FIRST TRIMESTER

During the First Month of Pregnancy:
First Month of Pregnancy

(Ref: Charaksamhita (Sharirsthanam) Chapter 8, Shloka 31-1)

  • Most women during the first month complain of nausea and vomiting and cannot consume a proper diet. So Maharishi Charka has advised  taking non –medicated cold milk repeatedly in desired quantity and should take Satvic Aahar according to her digestive power and strength during the first month of pregnancy.

During the Second Month of Pregnancy:
Second Month of Pregnancy

(Ref: Charaksamhita (Sharirsthanam) Chapter 8, Shloka 31-1)

  • According to this Shloka during the second month of pregnancy the mothers should have milk medicated with sweet herbs like Shatavari (Asparagus racemosus), Bala (Sidacardifolia) etc.

During the Third Month of Pregnancy:
Third Month of Pregnancy

(Ref: Charaksamhita (Sharirsthanam) Chapter 8, Shloka 31-1)

  • Acharya Charka has suggested  adding honey and Ghrita (Cow’s ghee) to milk during the third month of pregnancy.Milk should not be hot while adding the honey (it should be at room temp.). Honey and ghee should be in unequal quantity like mix 2 tsf of ghee + 1 tsf of honey to a cup of lukewarm milk.

During the first trimester (1 to 3rd month) Maharishi Sushruta has advised sweet, cold and liquid diet to the pregnant mother.  Along with this Shashti rice can be taken in the 3rd month.

SECOND TRIMESTER

During the Fourth Month of Pregnancy:

Third Month of Pregnancy

(Ref: Charaksamhita (Sharirsthanam) Chapter 8, Shloka 31-1)

  •  Milk with butter (unsalted fresh) or butter extracted from the cow’s milk is advised by Maharishi Charka in the quantity of 1 aksha (1 tola = 12 grams).

During the Fifth Month of Pregnancy:
Fifth Month of Pregnancy

Ref: Charaksamhita (Sharirsthanam) Chapter 8, Shloka 31-1)

  • Mothers should take at least 7-8 tsf of Ghrita (Cow ghee) prepared with butter (extracted from milk) in the 5th month.

During the Sixth Month of Pregnancy:
Sixth Month of Pregnancy

(Ref: Charaksamhita (Sharirsthanam) Chapter 8, Shloka 31-1)

  • During 6th month warm milk with sweet herbs like Liquorice and Shatavari should be taken the early morning at empty stomach.

According to Maharishi Sushruta pregnant mothers should take cooked Shashti rice with curd, dainty and pleasant food mixed with butter and meat of wild animals in 4th and 5th month and during the 6th month – Ghrita or Yavagu ( rice gruel ) medicated with gokhur is advised.

THIRD TRIMESTER

During the Seventh Month of Pregnancy

Seventh Month of Pregnancy

(Ref: Charaksamhita (Sharirsthanam) Chapter 8, Shloka 31-1)

  • In 7th month Charka has prescribed the same diet regimen as in 6th month (rice gruel prepared with milk).

During the Eighth Month of Pregnancy:

  • In 8th month Milk based sweet porridge is recommended, also mothers can have gruel made of rice, sooji, wheat mixed with ghrita. Gruel should be eaten once a day only.

During the Ninth Month of Pregnancy:

  • In the 9th month, mothers need more nourishment. Anuvasan basti with oil is recommended in 9th month prepared with the drugs of madhura group or vaginal tampoon (prepared with the same) is advised for the lubrication of garbhasthana (cervix, uterus) and garbhamarga (birth canal, perineum).
  • Ghrita medicated with prithakparnyadi (Vidarigand haldi) group of herbs is advised by Maharishi Sushruta for pregnant mothers.
  • This consumption of ghrita in the 9th month will help in proper growth and development of the fetus.
  • Maharishi Sushruta has indicated Aasthapan basti prepared with decoction (badarqwath) to clear the retained feaces and anulomana (regulation) of Vata which helps in  normal delivery without any complications.

DISCUSSION:

  • The First trimester of pregnancy is very crucial as most women experience nausea and vomiting during this period.
  • The body of a woman undergoes a lot of physiological changes. Therefore to provide proper nourishment to mother and foetus use of cold, sweet, liquid diet, milk, honey, ghrita and herbs of madhura group is advised.
  • During the second trimester, the fourth month onward there is the growth of muscular tissues of fetus which can be promoted  by the use of meat – soup (providing more proteins).
  • Mostly women suffer from edema of feet and other complications of water retention in pregnancy. Ayurveda has advised the use of Gokshura a very good diuretic in the 6th month for water retention.
  • The other herbs of vidari gandhadi group are diuretic, anabolic, and balance the three doshas Vata, Pitta and Kapha, are used in the 7th month of pregnancy.
  • Due to the pressure of gravid uterus over the bowels and effect of progesterone, most women may suffer from constipation in late pregnancy. Therefore the use of enema (Anuvasan basti) in the 8th month is advised.
  • In Ayurveda, Milk and herbs of Madhura group have been advised for the utmost entire period of pregnancy. Milk (Cow’s milk) is considered as a whole diet In Ayurveda. Cow’s milk is a rich source of calcium and minerals which are essential for both mother and foetus.
  • The Demand  for calcium is increased during pregnancy mostly during the last trimester. Milk (Cow’s milk ) provide adequate levels of calcium , vitamin D and proteins which are needed for the pregnant mothers to avoid the several health problems in a fetus like osteoporosis, rickets , low birth weight.
  • Milk (Cow’s milk) is considered as a complete food in Ayurveda which acts as a rejuvenator, promotes immunity, improves satva guna and also helps to enhance positive characteristics. Milk is also called as the Satvic Food in Ayurveda texts.
  • In Ayurveda – Honey acts as a natural sweetener and has many anti-bacterial and analgesic actions. Honey helps to improve the defense mechanism during pregnancy.
  • Due to high progesterone levels in pregnancy, mothers suffer from esophagitis and heartburn (nausea and vomiting) are seen commonly.
  • In this condition honey helps to reduce heart burn and discomfort in the gut. Honey also helps to reduce symptoms of morning sickness and vomiting.
  • Ghrita (cow’s ghee) is described as smritivardhaka (enhances memory) and buddhiwardhaka (enhances intelligence). During Pregnancy, Ghrita is advised to prevent constipation and to aid digestion that gets disturbed due to high progesterone level and diminished physical activity in pregnancy.
  • There is a recommendation of Shasti rice which is sweet and astringent in taste, easy to digest, and have cool potency.
  • It pacifies tridosha (Vata, Pitta and Kapha) and is ideal for anemic patients.

CONCLUSION:

Ayurveda describes Garbhini Paricharya i.e. antenatal care in which the pregnancy diet is recommended to

  1.  Maintain the health of the mother and foetus
  2. Increase the strength and vitality required during labor
  3. Maintain postpartum health of mother and successful lactation.

There is the provision of the diet which is light, nutritious, easily digestible and rich in protein, minerals and vitamins under the title of Garbhini Paricharya in Ayurveda.

Herbal Remedies for Healthy pregnancy

HERBS USEFUL FOR MAINTENANCE OF PREGNANCY BY PLANET AYURVEDA:

Planet Ayurveda recommends various herbal remedies which are very effective during pregnancy in women. These herbal remedies help the mother by avoiding pregnancy related problems  like indigestion, acidity, constipation etc. The herbal remedies by Planet Ayurveda includes Shatavari, Amla, and Punarnava etc. All these remedies are pure, 100 % vegetarian, safe and effective.

DOSAGE:

  1. Shatavari Capsules: Two capsules two times a day with plain water after meals.
  2. Amla Saar: Three teaspoonful twice daily, morning and evening with an equal amount of water.
  3. Punarnava Mandoor: Two tablets two times a day after meals with plain water.
  4. Spirulina Capsules: Two Capsules twice daily with plain water after meals.

PRODUCTS DESCRIPTION

SHATAVARI CAPSULES

  • In Ayurveda, Shatavari also known as Satavari (Asparagus Racemosus) is considered as one of the most vital herbs for women as it helps in balancing the female hormone system.
  • Shatavari is an old-age Ayurvedic formula that is used to treat infertility  in both men and women. Shatavari is 100 % pure organic herb,  considered as a boon for lactating mothers as it is known to increase the blood flow. Shatavari capsules are very useful for the treatment of pregnancy related symptoms.
  • This herb also helps women in regularizing menstrual cycles, treating pre and post-menopausal symptoms and sexual disorders. Shatavari is also called as a rejuvenating herb for women as it cleanses and nourishes the blood and the female reproductive organs.
  • The Shatavari capsules are given to reduce the problems of menstruation like pain, cramps, loss of blood etc. During pregnancy Shatavari capsules are given to relieve the symptoms of morning sickness, vomiting and tiredness. Shatavari capsules also help in problems related to infertility, leucorrhea, and in regulating ovulation.

Amla Saar

  • The Amla Saar is a very effective herb used in pregnant women. It has the richest source of natural vitamin C, that is very useful for the symptoms of acidity in pregnant ladies.
  • This is an excellent anti-aging remedy, improves digestion, the functioning of the brain, regulates blood sugar and increases hemoglobin. Amla Saar is 100 % pure, safe, chemical free and purely vegetarian. It is also used for the treatment of ulcers and hyperacidity.
  • According to Ayurveda it is considered as one of the best herb for Diabetes, bleeding disorders, and promotes strength and stamina. Amla Saar is made up of standardized extract of Amla fruit pulp which has the highest content of vitamin C of any natural occurring substances in nature.

Spirulina Capsules

  • Spirulina is very useful for the treatment of pregnant women. It is the best source of antioxidants like carotenoids, vitamin E, Zinc and selenium that fights against free radicals, and slow down the aging process.
  • Spirulina Capsules are given to pregnant women as being the richest vegetarian source of vitamin B 12 helps to reduce the physical and mental stress. Spirulina is used in females to balance the various hormonal imbalance and overall health of women. These capsules help to maintain normal hemoglobin level in the blood, builds immunity and maintain a healthy heart.

Punarnava Mandoor

  • Punarnava Mandoor is known to act as a natural diuretic and given to pregnant women to reduce the symptoms like swelling. It helps to remove the toxins from the blood thus helps in decreasing Urea/ Creatinine levels